Source: Journal of Science Techer Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, February 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aims to explore pre-service teachers’ understandings of scientific modeling during a multi-day, technology-integrated professional development workshop.
The participants were 11 pre-service teachers (10 females and 1 male).
The authors conducted a five session, face-to-face professional development workshop
in Spring 2014 at Tufts University.
The participants worked in groups to construct models of diffusion using a computational animation and simulation toolkit, and designed lesson plans for the toolkit.
The authors collected data video recordings of whole-class and small group interactions, written work and digital artifacts, and homework assignments and final projects.
The authors found that simulation elicited more robust engagement in modeling on the part of participating teachers than animation.
They found that in general, all four groups exhibited similar patterns of attention when creating animated models. They also found that teachers focused on what content to include in their models and how, but did not iterate those models so that they better explained or predicted how diffusion works.
However, the authors found that these same teacher groups attended to evaluation and revision more frequently than during the animation session, and evaluated and revised their models with respect to the scientific content represented.
The authors conclude that such integration holds potential not only for teachers, who must implement such tools in the classroom. The authors also argue that teacher educators can use such technology to elicit and build upon pre- and in-service teachers’ preexisting knowledge and strengths.